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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've not seen any forum chat on this subject, but randomly reading through some of the messages, I've noticed owners complaining about alignment and steering wheels off center. I picked up my Prius a week ago and noticed that the steering wheel was off center to the left. Dealer said that after 500 miles it should go away. I did not think so but went ahead and took delivery of the car (new car euphoria!). It would be interesting to see how many folks have had this problem.

I am taking it back to have them fix it.
 

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Me too -- the wheel is off to the right (clockwise)

... by a few degrees ... and the car drifts to the right (even if the road camber is flat or to the left)
 

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take a good look at your Prius-specific warranty booklet. I recall reading that 1 alignment was covered, I think it was 1 year or 10,000 miles, but I could be easily off on those numbers (I don't have access to my 2004's booklets at the moment...)

I'll note that on the Classic Prius, when doing the Toyota cruise control kit upgrade, the "teeth" on the new cruise steering wheel was a little off from that on the old non-cruise steering wheel. So, when you started your car and the steering wheel were aligned, but when you put on the new steering wheel the same straight-ahead (wheels haven't moved, nor has the steering column) is now cocked a few degrees either to the left or right... I just picked the direction that was closest to center, and have kept it that way (I think a smidge to the right).
 

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I've noticed that the wheel is turned a few degrees on my Prius when the car is going straight. I'm not sure what causes this, but I think the drift to the right that some people are noticing might be due to torque steer, a characteristic of many FWD cars that causes them to drift to one side when you accelerate. Just my 2 cents...
 

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If the wheel is off-center, take it in to be aligned. Alignment is apparently not part of the new car prep, but many if not most need it.

Have them set the toe-in a little towards "IN" and not at zero. Zero is allowed by the spec, but it will ake your car wander at high speed. Staying within spec, have them give it a little toe IN when they adjust it to center the steering wheel. Have them test drive it, and do likewise before you sign and accept it after the work. Mine never did and it took two attempts for them to get it right; it was worse first time back then when I started! Idiots.

Note, however, that the steering wheel will be aligned with the axis of the car, NOT the dashboard, which is canted outward. This can make you think it isn't aligned when it's fine. Look at the dash from the side of the car, and you'll see it is canted. This can give the illusion of misalignment. The real test is on a flat road at speed--it should be level with the horizon. Make sure there isn't crown to the road when you check it.
 

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from what in understand the tie-downs they use to keep the car on the truck can mess up the alignment. that's probably the case, and probably the reason Toyota covers one alignment within however many miles.
 

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DanB said:
I've not seen any forum chat on this subject, but randomly reading through some of the messages, I've noticed owners complaining about alignment and steering wheels off center. I picked up my Prius a week ago and noticed that the steering wheel was off center to the left. Dealer said that after 500 miles it should go away. I did not think so but went ahead and took delivery of the car (new car euphoria!). It would be interesting to see how many folks have had this problem.

I am taking it back to have them fix it.
Since bringing mine home, upon breaking, I have the sensation of a very, very slight pull to the LEFT. However, if I let the car go, it stays straight. Is this an alignment problem or not?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
KTPhil may be right in that the wheel may be centered with the horizon, but appear off centered with respect to the dasboard. Nevertheless, it does not feel right.

The service mamager did mention that one allignment is free within 20K miles.
 
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